Allard van der Horst 'Sharper choices through sector focus'
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Allard van der Horst 'Sharper choices through sector focus'

Allard Van Der Horst 2021 01 Allard van der Horst

At NOM, we like to be proactive. Because as a venture capital investor, it is important to be at the forefront of innovative sectors. Where the innovations are. So that we recognize promising players and initiatives at an early stage. We want to make the best choices and that is partly why we work in sector teams at NOM. With more focus. In this blog I explain how this approach strengthens our role as a business partner in the Northern Netherlands.

NOM has always been more than a provider of capital. We stimulate the North Netherlands entrepreneurial climate, drive business development, strengthen the region by bringing in (inter)national companies and, in addition to funding, offer a valuable network. Everything is aimed at moving entrepreneurs forward. Because we have an interest in doing so as an investor with public venture capital, but mainly because the regional economy benefits. As NOM, we consciously focus on sustainable innovation in seven sectors: Agri & Food, Chemistry, Energy, HTSM (high-tech systems and materials), IT & Artificial Intelligence, Life Sciences & Health and Water Technology.

Delve more deeply

All seven are innovative sectors where a lot of development is going on. Sectors that are also becoming increasingly specialized and that often have their own ecosystems in the Northern Netherlands. Such as the New Energy Coalition, Chemport and the Water Campus. For that reason, we as investment managers within NOM will no longer handle all possible funding requests as generalists, but will divide them among our sector teams. So that from now on my colleagues and I can delve even deeper into these focus areas. Having broad feelers in the northern region remains essential, but it starts with focus and sector knowledge.

Distribute cleverly

In practice, this step means that each investment manager from the Investment department will from now on be part of one or two sector teams, with each team focusing on one sector. In this way we want to serve the sectors optimally, together with other NOM colleagues who also focus on the same sectors. Whereby we cleverly divide the tasks and networks over the northern regions, so that in all provinces we are (pro)actively involved in the developments within that specific sector. Sometimes by taking the lead in funding issues, other times by participating in existing ecosystems or taking on a component. And always by making connections and combining (sector) knowledge. Also within NOM itself, by linking up with colleagues engaged in business development, ecosystem development or (inter)national acquisitions.

Strengthen region

What do entrepreneurs and the Northern Netherlands region gain from this approach? That we can better assess risks and opportunities based on thorough sector knowledge and associated networks. That we will make sharper choices as investors: sometimes saying 'no' sooner and therefore saying 'yes' more often to players and initiatives that - based on well-founded estimates - will strengthen the sector and the regional economy. And if we gain and share more (sector) specific knowledge by focusing our involvement, the entrepreneurs we finance can also develop faster. As investment managers, we have always had a broad orientation, and as a complete team we will of course remain so. Altogether we are active in all seven sectors, while individually we no longer have to keep track of everything. That's smarter, more efficient and helps make choices that ultimately benefit the entire region.

Allard van der Horst
Investment manager with focus on sectors HTSM and Water Technology

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